The (unbelievably bad) News:
As New York City prepares to lock down to attempt to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus which causes the new disease known as covid-19, cities throughout the United States are adopting various levels of precautionary measures.
The coronavirus reportedly can last up to three hours in the air after a cough or a sneeze, raising new worries about the spread of the contagion. One sick person could infect an entire class during a single lecture. A grocery store could infect hundreds of people during an ordinary business day. And don’t even get me started about adult establishments like nightclubs or strip clubs. The virus will flow through these like a wildfire.
Unfortunately, as I’ve repeatedly said, the US Government has been abysmally slow to respond to this situation. It is so bad that the US is the example that European nations are pointing to in order to emphasize to citizens abroad that it is imperative to return home immediately.
Our hospital workers do not have the protective equipment they need to avoid contracting the disease via airborne spread, and as a result the US is now likely to have compounded its shortage of ventilators by adding to the mix a shortage of medical personnel who will need to rotate out to quarantine as they begin to fall ill.
But what is the disease? Everyone seems to think it’s related to the flu. And it is, like the flu, an RNA virus. But that’s about where the relationship stops. The coronavirus responsible for Covid-19 seems to be attracted to ACE2 receptors which, conveniently, are scattered throughout the body in some of the most important organs we have — heart, lungs, kidneys, reproductive organs.
The failure of traditional treatment methodologies involving corticosteroids is thought to exacerbate the spread of the virus by further exposing these ACE2 receptors to the sticky virus, which is thought to be 10–20x more likely than SARS-COV to attach to and then infect cells.
But the most terrifying aspect of the virus is the impact it is having upon otherwise healthy young people. Much like the Spanish Flu of 1918, it seems to use the healthy young person’s immune system against itself. The coronavirus can initially present with flu-like symptoms, which seem to abate after a few days. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? But the problem is what happens next: young people are turning up at the ER, unable to breathe. People in their mid-30s, non-smokers who are healthy and fit and active. And they’re needing ventilator support to stay alive.
Make no mistake, this is extremely serious. Further, the government is not doing as it should be to prevent the spread of this deadly contagion. The absolutely horrific rollout of testing for Covid-19 has been stymied by a bevy of biotech companies working to invent a better way even as the testing methodology in use in other nations (successfully, I might add) has been refused. One day a textbook will be written about what not to do, based upon the mistakes of the current CDC (not to mention the oval office).
All of this goes to say, the most severe disease in recent memory is about to cut a swath through our cities and families and the expensive systems we’d put into place to keep this from happening have been cut to — you guessed it — line the pockets of the people who are already rich in this country even more.
If you’re an American, you’re probably going to get covid-19 if you don’t already have it. And when the hospitals start filling up, the morbidity rate of 20% and the mortality rate (which varies on the basis of available care) are going to start looking more and more similar.
The (minor) Ways To Improve Your Chances
1. DO NOT GO OUT TO EAT OR DRINK. PERIOD. It just isn’t worth the risk. If these germs can hang in the air FOR UP TO THREE HOURS, you’re taking a risk simply by breathing in public.
2. RUN FOR THE HILLS IF SOMEONE COUGHS. Sure, it might be the flu, but is it worth a coronavirus infection if you’re wrong? I’m not kidding. I’ve been sick a few days now after spending time with someone who was coughing. I wanted to show sympathy and be nice about it, thinking “surely they don’t have covid,” and I REGRET IT NOW.
3. USE DELIVERY TO GET WHAT YOU NEED. Packing materials are thought to only be able to host the virus for a few minutes, making transmission that way incredibly unlikely. This conflicts directly with the information about plastic or metal being able to host it for up to 3 days, however, so you may want to spray the tape down with isopropyl alcohol or bleach just to be certain.
We’re really at this point now. The news cycle on this has been irredeemably sabotaged by the foot-dragging of Fox News, in support of the misinformation being spread by Donald Trump.